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The State of Depression

19 Feb

This article on was rather interesting until the last page.

The 10 Most Depressing States in the U.S.

To summarize, it lists (rather irresponsibly and), alphabetically, indicators of what makes these states possibly depressive to live in.  Things like poor economy, high unemployment rate, poor health statistics, etc.  I was rather intrigued by these statistics until I read the last page, listed for West Virginia:

The Mountain State is ranked last or next-to-last in every mental-health category on our list, including the average number of “mentally unhealthy” days residents have per month and the percentage of people who experience frequent mental distress (15%).

One reason may be that roughly two-thirds of West Virginians live in rural areas, where both steady jobs and access to mental health care can be hard to come by. A 2000 study found that while nearly 1 in 3 residents living in rural areas had “a high level” of depression symptoms, almost half had never been treated for the condition by any doctor, let alone a psychiatrist or mental-health specialist.

I think the most interesting sentence there is the one listing their supposition behind these markers for frequent mental distress: these people live in rural areas where almost half had never been treated for their conditions by any doctor, psychiatrist or mental-health specialist.

Doesn’t this seem a bit arrogant to you?

I can see one side of the coin, and probably how it was meant, that it is a largely agrarian, mining, and industrial society that has incredibly sparse access to the luxury of a mental health physician…but the other side of the coin?

Are they really implying that rural society must be depressed because they are rural?  That’s how this last page read to me.  Not to mention that it was incredibly irresponsible to make a LIST of the most depressing states for those states to see.  Gee, let’s just tell people how sick they are! (and watch the money roll in for the medical profession, I think?)

Look at that last sentence.  “1 in 3 residents living in rural areas had a ‘high level’ of depression symptoms“.  Where are the actual numbers stating that these people have depression?  I can sigh and have a bad day, but maybe I just stubbed my toe.  Does that mean I’m depressed?  Maybe I’m having trouble making my checkbook balance and my kid’s clothes weren’t completely dry before sending them off to school today so they might catch cold before the day’s out.  With winter storms like we’ve been having, every day being cloudy and rainy and snowy…YEAH, I’m going to look depressed, but that doesn’t mean I am clinically or chronically depressed to the point where I need help.  You can observe many points where I might look like I need medical attention, but I can look on all day long and find symptoms I’m sick with, too.  That doesn’t mean I’m really sick.  I can write an entire thesis on the supposed connection between strep throat carriers and autistic children, but it doesn’t mean it’s true.

My point is, the medical profession and their researchers are becoming increasingly arrogant to believe that just because they say something is so, we need to believe it and never question them.  I know this is one report and one article, but honestly, how many times do you read or see some kind of advertisement that wants you to try something new, simply because you “might” be expressing those symptoms?

THAT’S unhealthy, and something incredibly arrogant in the current pharmaceutical and medical professions.

I leave you with this:  Please don’t hesitate to question your doctors.  They are human and second opinions are well-respected.  Don’t fall for this claptrap that someone puts online about “depressing states”.  If you feel depressed, yes of course, get whatever help you need and I’m sure you (and especially West Virginia) have a medical professional or at least a counselor within at least 100 miles that can help.  Do not forget the power of friends and family, or if you’re religious, the higher power of your faith.

What have you seen recently that has been a solid representation of irresponsible medical advertising?


The most beautiful video I’ve ever seen

28 Feb

Randy Halverson.  I think he’s going to be a pretty household name after his video went viral.  This is the most astounding series of sky captures I’ve ever seen and I remember when Nova was on TV.  (anybody else remember that?)

<p><a href=”″>Temporal Distortion</a> from <a href=””>Randy Halverson</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


Forgive the crazy HTML.  I know enough to get me in troubles.


~@Marc Schuster: I’m ruminating.  You gave me much food for thought on your response to my last post and I thank you.


The Influence and Empowerment of Writing

27 Jan

My writing, as is most, revolves around the study of the human condition.  I’m one of the watchers, the studiers, one of the ones that sit and watch a scene of life unfold and view the participants and their actions as each take their turn to play.  I try to watch them and determine what their perceived actions are versus their possible intended actions, and, possibly from a slightly masochistic streak, I also try to determine what their motives were in varying between the two.

For example (making a simple case):

John walks into the room.  Brenda and Sherri had been gossiping furiously over another co-worker and what it looked like they might have survived the previous night by the unholy circles under their eyes and supposed sound sensitivity.  The girls maliciously suggested a drunken binge.  As soon as John walks in, however, all talking ceases and Brenda blushes, looking away.

John thinks they were talking about him.  Sherri smirks behind her hand.  John asks, “What’s so funny?”, to which Brenda immediately snaps almost angrily, “Nothing!”

John snorts, walks off in a huff, and now Brenda drops her head in her hands.  After a moment, she speaks quietly to Sherri: “See?  He doesn’t even like me.”

Now.  How many different interpretations of THAT can you come up with?  Several, I’m sure, and that’s half the fun!  I love watching things like this play out because they formed so much of my own perceptions growing up.  So many people that I misconstrued to think one way when I was younger, informed me later it was rather to the opposite at the time it happened.  How can you not become fascinated with the quadrille and calculation of emotion that is life?

It brings us high, it rips us low, it levels the field and takes nations to war.  By every definition and example, it rules our lives and that’s why I find writing…empowering.  I have that power in my hands, even as I write this to you.  Every writer that endeavors to master his or her craft has that power and it is intoxicating.

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